We love using iMessage! It makes communicating with friends and family so much easier, especially in times where having a conversation is not possible or not recommended (think movies or workplaces.) So when you stumble across iMessage not working, it’s very frustrating.
Several of our readers report an issue in which iMessage service is not working properly on iPhone, iPod Touch and/or iPad. For instance, iMessage doesn’t send or receive messages.
- iMessage Not Working on Apple Watch
- iMessage Not Working on iOS10
- Manage iMessage Storage
- iMessage on Windows?
- iOS6: Messages (iMessage) not working, How to fix
- iOS 7: iMessage and FaceTime Problems and their solutions
- 0.1 Yes, There is a Difference Between SMS and iMessage!
- 0.2 Apple’s Golden Rule
- 0.3 How to resolve iMessage not working
- 0.4 If Restarting Didn’t Fix your iMessage not working
- 1 Top Tips That Fix Most iMessage Issues
Yes, There is a Difference Between SMS and iMessage!
This one we all forget–sometimes. iMessages work between Apple Products only–and they appear in BLUE text bubbles. SMS or MMS messages work with all types of mobile products & manufacturers, from Android to Windows, and appear in GREEN text bubbles. To send SMS/MMS from your iPhone, you need a text-messaging plan from a mobile wireless carrier.
Another Big Difference?
iMessages and SMS messages include texts, photos, or videos. BUT iMessages are always encrypted while SMS and MMS messages are not encrypted. So, if you have a choice, always stick with BLUE (encrypted.)
Apple’s Golden Rule
When facing any issue such as iMessage not working, always check if an iOS update or macOS update is available for your device. If so, Apple recommends updating your iOS as a first step.
Speaking of updates
Also, check if your mobile or cellular carrier as a carrier settings update. This is obviously for iDevices that support mobile plans–iPhones and iPads. Carrier settings updates let your carrier provider update carrier network and related settings to improve cellular network connectivity and performance or add support for features like VoLTE or Wi-Fi. So it’s a good idea to keep these updated and to check regularly for any updates.
To check for and install a carrier settings update
- Make sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network
- Tap Settings > General > About
- If an update is available, you see an option to update your carrier settings
When you insert a new SIM card into your iPhone or iPad, you always need to download these carrier settings for your new carrier.
How to resolve iMessage not working
Turn off and on (restart) your iOS device (press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds, then slide the slider.) Wait 20-30 seconds and then power back on.
How to restart
- Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the red slider appears.
- Drag the slider to turn your device completely off.
- After the device turns off, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until you see the Apple logo.
If a restart didn’t do the trick, then try a forced restart with your iDevice. Apple recommends only performing a force restart on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touches as a last resort and only if it’s not responding.
How to force restart
- On an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo.
- On an iPhone 6s and earlier, iPad, or iPod touch: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo.
Pressing the Send Button 411
Believe it or not, how you press the send button matters! Check that you apply pressure and press firmly on the send button for 3D Touch iPhones and iDevices. For non-3D Touch iDevices, a long press on the send button oftentimes does the trick (the upward pointing arrow icon to the right of your message.)
If Restarting Didn’t Fix your iMessage not working
Oftentimes, changing your DNS settings fixes this issue.
To change DNS servers, follow these instructions for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)
- Tap Settings
- Select WiFi on the left-hand side
- Tap the blue arrow next to your current Wi-Fi network
- Choose the “DNS” field and enter the DNS servers; 188.8.131.52 (Google’s Public DNS). For more information about Google’s public DNS.
Top Tips That Fix Most iMessage Issues
Check Your Settings
- Check that you are signed in with your Apple ID. Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and verify that you’re signed in with your Apple ID
- Ensure you apply sufficient finger stylus pressure when pressing the send button (the upward pointing arrow icon to the right of your message.) For iOS 10, make sure that you hold your touch longer than usual to allow the send with effects menu to appear
- iFolks with 3D Touch, a light touch is all you need
- No 3D Touch? No problem, just use a firm and long touch is what you need
- Restart Messages app by double tapping the Home button then swipe up to force quit the app. As an FYI, no data or messages are lost when restarting. Once closed, wait 10-20 seconds and then open the Messages app again
- Toggle Airplane Mode ON and OFF by going to Settings > Airplane Mode
- Toggle OFF and ON iMessage by going to Settings > Messages
Check Your Connections & Reset
- Reset your network by tapping Settings > General > Reset > choose Reset Network Settings
- Turn off WiFI Assist by tapping Settings > Cellular > and turn off Wi-Fi Assist
- Check your that Date and Time setting is “Set Automatically” by going to Settings > General > Data & Time
- Reset All Settings by opening up Settings > General. Scroll down and tap on Reset. Choose Reset All Settings. Enter your passcode if asked and choose Reset All Settings again. This resets all the settings on your iDevice. But, it won’t delete any media or data
A Reader Tip!!
Henry discovered his 6th generation iPod Touch iMessage wasn’t working. The send button was dead. So he tried a couple of things. And ultimately, Henry fixed the problem of his iMessage not working by going to Settings > messages > send & receive. Under “start new conversations from,” he changed it from his Gmail account to his iCloud address (firstname.lastname@example.org.) And wouldn’t you know, iMessage started working again.
Seeing Red Exclamation Point?
When you send a message, do you see a red exclamation point followed with an alert saying “Not Delivered?”
- Tap the red exclamation point then tap Try Again
- If your message still isn’t delivered, tap the red exclamation point then tap Send as Text Message.
- This send your message as an SMS or MMS
- Message and Screen Effects do not show up
- Message is not encrypted–so be mindful of what you send
Are your contacts seeing your email address and not your phone number?
This happens a lot. I mean A LOT! So you are most certainly not alone. Luckily, this is an easy one to get straightened out. Chances are that your iMessage settings are set to receive iMessages and start conversations from your Apple ID instead of your phone number.
So let’s check those iMessage settings and see if your phone number is set (or not set) to send and receive messages.
- Go to Settings > Messages
- Tap Send & Receive
- Verify that your phone number is listed and selected under “You Can Be Reached By iMessage At” AND under “Start New Conversations From”
If you don’t see your phone number listed, let’s add it
- On all of your iDevices, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
- Tap your Apple ID, then tap Sign Out
- On your iPhone, go back to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
- Tap Use your Apple ID for iMessage and sign in with your Apple ID
- Verify that your phone number and Apple ID are listed under “You Can Be Reached By iMessage At”
- On all your other iDevices,open Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
- Tap Use your Apple ID for iMessage then sign in with your Apple ID